Robin Amy Bass


The rabbit runs at breakneck speed. The turtle wins the race.
“I’ve got do things in my own time; I think I’ve found my place.”
There are no footprints in the sand. The wind has swept away.
And in a voice that’s not unkind, you tell me “stay away”.

“But you can call me anytime, though I might be asleep.
And sometimes I just don’t pick up the phone; my own council I keep.
I turn the ringer way down low; I’d never use a cell
I’ve got to do this in my own time. You know that I’m not well.
And this is not the place for you… I thought that you could tell.
My windows they are all sealed up. It’s my four walls of Hell.”

Well I as I turn to walk away I see the Devil grin.
“Some people, they were born in here. Original! The Sin!”
The Devils leaning on a tree… He shakes his head at me.
“They say that War is Hell you know; well that… and PTSD.”

“Wait up” He says. His tail it flicks His pitchfork’s in the ground.
“Now don’t give up and runaway. Let me show you around.
Well Hell is not at all like that. Of course, it isn’t free!
Some people are just dying to get in – it’s going to cost you, see.”

“Still, Heavens not the way they say. Some cracked up Angel’s dream.
And you would never make it there. No one to fix your seams.
The Father’s mansion – many rooms – but that’s not what you’d choose.
I’ve seen the way you like to dress – you wouldn’t like their shoes.”

“Now here it is a different place – it’s not like way up there.
The rooms are booked ahead of time, but there’s always one to spare.
Beside this place expands at will. We like to renovate.
And though there is a waiting list, we’ll get you through this Gate.”

“I see that you’re not much for pearls – you hocked them years ago.
And red its looks so good on you – Just one place you should go!
I think you would do well down here. Yeah, you could take the heat.
You seem to be the perfect size, excepting for your feet.”

“You’re clothing’s great! Looks really hot – and you’re the perfect size.
I’m sure that you will fit right in – keep up the exercise.
And maybe you could bring your shoes. I really like those heels
And do not worry ‘bout the food, you rarely eat three meals.”

“Now here’s the thing about this place – you never will be bored.
While we do not allow a harp, there is a harpsichord.
Your friend Tim plays a mean keyboard, and you can play the cell.
Besides, you have the gift of gab. We like that here in Hell!

Perhaps you’ll come and work for me. I hear that you can sell.
‘Cause advertising is the game – you play it very well!
You can talk a streak that’s blue – write words till Hell freezes over.
We don’t care if you drink again – Your choice – you can stay sober.”

“Now we know, that you have led a life – what shall we call it? Mixed?
Some things you did were really nice – some things you cannot fix.
Don’t worry about George Harrison – I’m happy to report
Though you may never see him here – we’ve got all his imports.”

“John Lennon and George Harrison, both legends in their time
We really don’t play My Sweet Lord – but you’ll hear He’s So Fine
And Billy Joel – He likes to tour – He comes with Elton John.
Well that is why we call it Hell! You get those two for one.”

I looked the Devil in the eye! He looked right back at me.
“Of course you’ll want a private room, and Hon that don’t come free.
But we have five year financing, and we have lay-a-way.
And if you pay your bill on time – Your MOM will stay away.”

“Your Dad will always be in reach – the ones you hate, are barred
Your Grandma Annie’s doing fine you know, she’s somewhere playing cards.
And as for your friend Elphaba, she’s got the whole West Wing.
In fact, she is the only one that we allow to sing!”

“As for your friend Tim who hates the Cell, some things will never change.
But we can help him with the mess – let’s call it an exchange.
So bide your time, get off that high horse – This ain’t the Kentucky Derby.
You’ll love it here; it cost six bucks – and Welcome to New Jersey!”

Author’s Note: Last year I bought Tim a Cell phone… this was before my divorce… he didn’t want to call when my EX was still around… and he also said the long distance was expensive. So I found a plan where we shared 800 free minutes (still have yet to use them all)…

Still Tim is a “slow mover” and his PTSD doesn’t help. I didn’t understand it back then. First he said the phone “took up too much room” (it is 3 inches) Now he uses it all the time… He loves to text me in the middle of the night. My code name is CIA – ‘cause I ask so many questions!

Back then, when I thought he was in trouble… I would just show up… I live in Queens… five miles from NYC. He lives out on some Route… Jersey is all Routes!!! Tim would go nuts when I just showed up! So after a while, I stopped – learned to respect his boundaries (it’s hard when you think someone is at risk)

I would wait weeks before he would let me come over… so I wrote this one day after I showed up unannounced and he sent me home! (This changed when my divorce became final)

A few details:

I still love the last line. Tim lives in Small neighborhood town, NJ… I live in Forest Hills, two tunnels away…! For those who are not familiar, Elphaba is the name of The Wicked Witch of The West (born Green and totally misunderstood if you believe the Broadway show “Wicked” – which I do!) from the Wizard of Oz.

George Harrison was sued for writing My Sweet Lord… originally recorded by The Chiffon as He’s So Fine. Again… this has not much to do with PTSD… (Maybe a little with learning to cope with someone who has it!)